NIGERIA and Algeria will battle for a place in the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when they meet at the Cairo International Stadium tomorrow.
The Super Eagles earned their place in the semifinals with a 2-1 win over South Africa earlier this week. The three-time champions triumphed over Bafana Bafana thanks to goals from Samuel Chukwueze and William Troost-Ekong.
Manager Gernot Rohr's tactics proved highly effective in subduing the speed and short-passing game of South Africa, with Nigeria's midfield domination and speed on the flanks eventually bringing them a deserved victory.
Their only worry was a lack of effectiveness from striker Odion Ighalo, who flattered to deceive for the first time in the tournament.
However, it was his occupation of the two Bafana centre-backs which allowed wide attackers Ahmed Musa and Chukwueze, as well as playmaker Alex Iwobi, the space to shine.
Algeria, meanwhile, endured a tough clash against Ivory Coast in their quarterfinal on Thursday evening.
The North Africans led most of the match thanks to a goal from Sofiane Feghouli, but a missed penalty from Baghdad Bounedjah and an equaliser from the Elephants' Jonathan Kodjia saw the game end 1-1 after extra time.
Penalties were called for and the Fennec Foxes, despite missing their last kick through Youcef Belaili, won the shootout 4-3 (Wilfried Bony and Serey Die missed their attempts for the West Africans).
Algeria are appearing in their first semifinal since 2010 and looking to return to the final for the first time since their only AFCON triumph in 1990.
Nigeria's last Nations Cup semi and final appearance was in South Africa in 2013 when they won the tournament.
In head-to-head terms, Nigeria and Algeria have met in 19 matches. The Super Eagles have claimed nine wins compared to seven for the Fennec Foxes, while three games have been drawn.
The teams' most recent clash was a World Cup qualifier in Constantine in November 2017 which ended 1-1, while their last meeting in an AFCON saw Nigeria win 1-0 in the third-place playoff of the 2010 edition in Angola.
In the other semi-final tie tomorrow, Tunisia will face off with Senegal at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo, having brought an end to Madagascar's fairy-tale run with a 3-0 thrashing. Senegal are seeking their first ever AFCON trophy and will come hard-and-good at the Tunisians - 2004 winners of the competition. - BackpageTXT